Defining Mom

In case you haven’t seen or heard the zillions of jewelry, flower, and card commercials, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I love being a mom… but to be honest, Mother’s Day has traditionally been a bit bittersweet for me. In fact, my first Mother’s Day after my divorce was the hardest holiday to get through in my entire life — by far. (The second year wasn’t much better.) As SingleMomSeeking describes, I knew the day was about being a mom and being with my children, not about having a husband or partner. But logic and emotion don’t always play well together, you know? My kids were so young and the day was just like any other for them. My marriage was kaput. My family lived out of state. My friends were doing their own thing. I felt very much alone in my failings.

Since then I’ve gained more confidence in myself and my parenting abilities, although any parent will tell you that, just as you delude yourself into thinking you’ve mastered one stage, your child is on to the next! My kids are also old enough now to express their feelings to me. But maybe most importantly I’ve learned (and am still learning) to rely less on expectations, whether created by Hallmark or in my own mind, and to define being a mom in ways that make sense to me.

Mother is Community.

While I would love to get married again one day, I believe families come in all shapes and sizes. I know moms who are married and single, with biological children and with adopted children. One of my coworkers, a woman who I’m guessing is in her 30′s, has even opened her heart to become a foster mother — wow! Our key to survival — and being able to thrive — is to ask for and accept help, something I haven’t always been so good at.

You may hear that it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m here to tell you that it definitely takes a village (or two) to raise a mother.

Mother is Motion.

I used to think of “mother” as a noun, a name, but it really involves action. The dictionary defines Mother, the verb, as “to give birth to” and “to care for or protect.” I don’t think that does it justice; to me, it’s more like:

mother vb To care for, protect, laugh, cry, shout, yell, praise, swaddle, clean, scrub, smile, ignore, regret, feel guilt, worry, hear, smooch, roll eyes, launder [clothes-sheets-towels-toys-clothes-sheets-towels-toys...rinse-repeat-rinse, does it ever end?!], chuckle, discipline, grit teeth, give time outs, take time outs, cut [food-construction paper-fingernails-hair-clothing tags], cheer, gaze, feed, bathe, read [baby books-bedtime stories-homework-report cards-doctor's notes-'how to' this and 'how to' that-poems of love and loss, written for you and perhaps for others], wipe, wipe again, wipe some more, dress, enjoy, admire, snap at, take pride in, teach, raise, drive around, drive batty, observe, support, counsel, hug, kiss, shop for, pay for, defend, listen, save, nourish, love.

Mother is Gratitude.

I have it good as a mom, better than many. Being a parent has taught me about keeping things in perspective and being thankful. I have a wonderful family, including MY amazing mom, boss, coworkers, neighbors, an ex who is a loving and involved father, and a strong network of friends, both online and off.

Thank you. You all have made a difference in my life.

And, Drama Girl and T-Rex, you may exhaust me, and you may still not quite understand, but you are an endless source of inspiration. Now that we’ve met, I can’t imagine my life without you.

Have a great Mother’s Day, Mamas! Define the day as you like and, for God’s sake, get ye to the spa and take a break from all of that motion. ;)

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6 Responses to “Defining Mom”

  1. singlemomseeking | May 10, 2008, 1:00 pm

    Confession: that pic of your and your loves has me all teary… Wow. Love it! Thanks for this. Sending you a warm hug.

  2. curt | May 10, 2008, 6:11 pm

    susan,

    happy mother’s day.

  3. Jen | May 10, 2008, 9:52 pm

    Susan,

    You are a WONDERFUL mom, sister and friend. Don’t ever forget it! Enjoy your special day with my favorite niece and nephew :)

    Love ya!!

    p.s. I agree our mom is AMAZING!

  4. kweenmama | May 10, 2008, 9:57 pm

    Great post! I remember how hard my first mother’s day after my divorce was. I Like your definitions of “mom.”

  5. Writesome | May 11, 2008, 10:07 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day! Great definition and a very touching post.

  6. Melissa from Pittsburgh | May 12, 2008, 5:10 pm

    Awesomely put! Happy B-lated Moms day! Mothers day this year has been bitter-sweet for me too; as I think it will continue to be for the rest of my days. For I have now come to understand mothers day in a whole new light. It was a day of reflection for me, and I miss my babies – they grow so fast. I will try to remember these feelings so that moments last longer. My girls are growing up so fast.

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